Some Utah Jazz fans still bristle about that infamous play in the NBA Finals 10 years ago. You know the one. Time's running out in Game 6, when Michael Jordan created separation from Bryon Russell with his arm was it a nudging or a shoving? and then nailed his now-legendary jumper to win the championship at the Delta Center.
On Wednesday night, the Jazz added another "Did he push off or not?" debate to the painful part of their playoff history.
The Jazz are still alive in the Western Conference semifinals, so Pau Gasol's key offensive rebound over Mehmet Okur won't prick fans' hearts as much as Jordan's play. But the question remains: Should the Lakers' 7-footer have been called for an offensive foul for pushing the Jazz's 6-11 center in the back or was it a legal, clean putback?
Gasol's play with 20.5 seconds remaining in Game 5 at the Staples Center all but sealed the Lakers' 111-104 win that put them up 3-2 in this series.
Deron Williams, who rewatched the game on the flight back to Salt Lake City, said Gasol definitely went over Okur. Then again, he added, there was "a little bit of a flop, too."
"He got pushed a little bit, but I don't know if it was that bad," Williams said.
Carlos Boozer, who said he probably should have gone to the free-throw line more than he did, didn't make a big deal out of it, either.
"Yeah, definitely," Boozer said at practice when asked if Gasol pushed Okur. "But it's part of the game."
Had Okur grabbed the board, Utah, which trailed by three at the time, would have had a chance to tie the game in the final 20 seconds.